All my heroes are dead now.

This night, Christopher Hitchens passed. He'd been struggling with cancer for a couple of years, yet he'd kept going despite knowing exactly what was in store for him.

A passing always hits a special part of your body, an organ you did not know was there. It's like losing part of what helped keep your balance. It's going to take some time to find a new balance in absence of that support.

When Arthur C. Clarke passed, he'd lived a lifetime and written more than one lifetimes worth of work. Knowing that, it was somewhat more easy to celebrate his life and work, knowing he'd more than fulfilled his promise. Douglas Adams life, on the other hand, was cut short like now Hitchens was. Surely both Adams and Hitchens have achieved more in their lives than many of us can ever hope to, but it still makes this no less tragic.

Hitch had a profound impact on me. Through his writing and speaking he logically approached the difficulty of the human condition. In no uncertain terms, Hitch managed to make actual sense of what might not have any sense in the first place. Not believing in God is not as easy as it sounds. The notion that this is it and even if you live a life unfulfilled in the end you'll return to the void, that is a hard pill to swallow. Somehow it puts the injustice of the world in an even starker contrast.

Through this, Hitch taught me that what I need to strive for in life is to have more good days than bad days. He taught me what I want for my own deathbed; to have made some impact in the lives of the people I spent it with, to hopefully have been an invisible support to give balance. You were that support to me, Hitch, and like walking a staircase missing a step, I expect to stumble in your absence. I will do my best to find a new balance and help others do so. And I will tell my daughter about you.

The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it — Thucydides

6 thoughts on “Hitch

  1. I will miss him for the same reasons as you do. If I might offer up an ‘anti-prayer’

    Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo. -Karl Marx

  2. This was a great post Joen. It is always amazing when we feel the loss of another human being so profoundly, especially when we had no real personal contact with them.

    I was obviously not a fan of some of his ideology, but I had a profound respect for his eloquence, passion and tenacity. Any person’s legacy is the people they inspired, touched and lifted up. It seems Hitch’s legacy is alive and well.

    1. If only everyone else could be as respectful in disagreement as you are, the world would be a better place. You’re a good man Chris. Thanks for your comment.

  3. I felt similarly on news of his passing.
    How can a man who has such a grasp on language, logic, love of life and like you said, eloquence be taken from us all during his peak?
    Surely this is a sufficiently large cavity in the thinking, writing and speaking worlds, one that may remain until someone of similar presence and fearlessness may take up the standard?
    I feel we all do a disservice to Hitchens and each other by not being fully aware or exposed to his critique of humanity and his ability to reason. What an incredibly steadfast persona.
    Great post.

    1. Everything starts somewhere, and Hitchens certainly started something in me. I’m a skeptic, and proud to be. I’ve also learned that we cannot always reach a consensus , or even agree to disagree, not if one side of the argument is dangerously wrong.

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